By Richards Nzemeke
Port Harcourt – Dr Kingsley Alerechi, Director, Leprosy and Tuberculosis control programme in Rivers has said the state has an of estimated 23,199 Tuberculosis cases as at 2015.
Alerechi disclosed this during an interactive session with reporters on Tuesday in Port Harcourt.
“In that year alone, 2,369 cases, about 10 per cent of the number were detected.
‘’This has been the trend all these years, meaning that there was a huge missing cases in the communities,” he said.
According to the director, about 29 per cent of TB patients tested Positive to HIV between 2011 and 2015.
He said Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City Local Government Areas had the highest population of people living with the airborne disease.
According to him, children less than five years were more prone to tuberculosis.
“Person who breath in air containing the germs may become infected; tuberculosis can also affect other parts of the body-lymph, nodes, bones, abdomen, brain and kidneys,” he said.
The director said 234 facilities both public and private, were providing TB services in the state, adding that it constituted 83 per cent health population coverage.
He added that there were 82 TB microscopy diagnostic centres in the state, indicating 58 per cent population coverage.
Alerechi lamented that there had been increasing cases of drug resistant tuberculosis to date.
He noted that there were estimated 421 cases of drug resistant TB.
According to him, 140 (33 per cent) of the number were diagnosed with the drug resistant Tb and 103 (74 per cent) of it were put on constant treatment.
Alerechi said resistance occurred when the victim had not undergone treatment for the required six months duration.
He said low community awareness about the disease, non- adherence to treatment, HIV epidemic and poor attitude of health workers among others were the setbacks to TB control.
The director noted that the state would have been tuberculosis-free, if the government had “done the appropriate things.”